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Ex-Worthington woman accused of stealing more than $186,000 from local business

WORTHINGTON — A former Worthington woman has been accused of misappropriating more than $186,000 from a Worthington business at which she served as bookkeeper for 13 years.

Charlene J. Long, 58, has been charged with 11 felony theft counts in Nobles County District Court after an approximately five-month long investigation allegedly found Long had paid herself $186,747.22 in unauthorized wages and commissions from Radio Works during an approximately six-year period. A conviction on any of the counts is punishable up to 10 years imprisonment, a $20,000 fine or both.

According to the criminal complaint filed Friday, Radio Works began outsourcing its bookkeeping needs — something that Long had performed in-house for the radio station headquartered west of Worthington for several years — in early fall 2017. Radio Works co-owner Chad Cummings alleged that Long became upset when notified about the change when required to provide login information for the businesses’ banking accounts.

The local business newly hired to perform bookkeeping duties informed Cummings that Long had allegedly logged payments to herself as commission. Cummings told law enforcement that Long admitted to paying herself $20,000 worth of unauthorized commissions, which prompted him to contact the Worthington Police Department.

A more thorough investigation revealed Long had allegedly misappropriated more funds than what she initially admitted to. The complaint organizes the amounts of unauthorized payments Long allegedly made to herself from the second half of 2012 through 2017. While varying, the amounts of unauthorized wages and commissions grew throughout the time period in which Long is accused of misappropriating funds.

The complaint details that the Worthington investigator learned Long had moved to Sioux Falls, S.D., but her exact whereabouts are unknown. Due to the inability to make contact with Long, a complaint warrant was issued May 11 for her arrest.

Alyssa Sobotka

Alyssa joined The Globe in July 2017 and covers education and crime beats. The Nebraska native earned her bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Nebraska at Kearney. In her own sarcastic tone, her blog, Aimlessly Navigating, recounts the reality, pitfalls and triumphs of a young 20-something navigating to maturity. Follow her on Twitter: @alyssasobotka

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